Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1401 ..
close a loophole and ensure that the concession extends to these people in this less common purchasing arrangement.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.34): I am keen to put some words on the record pertaining to this bill and in particular pertaining to the removal of an end date for the land tax rebate for affordable and social housing. It gives me the chance to reminisce about my time here with Caroline Le Couteur. It was a wonderful time, Mr Assistant Speaker Davis. I know that you share a love for Ms Le Couteur.
I listened to Ms Vassarotti talk about the process that led to the land tax rebate—or at least a part of the process; we would be naive to believe that it was not being worked on by other pieces of the machine at the time. Ms Vassarotti was correct that both I and Ms Le Couteur were independently working on the same motion at the same time. She beat me to it and got that motion to the chamber. I was the one who brought it to the chamber as a bill. That would have been in late 2018. As members who were here would recall, it was decided that the Assembly would not debate my bill because it involved appropriation, so it was shelved. I was pleased to see the majority of it appear in a government tax bill six months later.
One of the things that has always limited this measure’s effectiveness, as was pointed out by Ms Vassarotti, has been the end date. It has always appeared to be a bit like a trial.
Mr Barr interjecting—
MR PARTON: It has, Mr Barr. Mr Cain made the point that the end date at this stage, prior to this amendment, is only two months away. The certainty for people in this space has been non-existent. People have never had certainty with this measure.
Like all members here, I would like to see much greater take-up of this option with community housing providers and landlords. They are the ones that have to come to the party in the coming weeks. I will be sitting down with CHPs in the coming weeks to discuss ways that we can promote this incentive to the market. I know that Ms Vassarotti, through her channels, is doing that, but it would be good if we can do it through as many channels as possible, because it will, hopefully, provide more affordable rentals to the market. That is what we are trying to do.
I recall Mr Barr, in one of his angry tirades in the chamber in recent weeks, talking about this measure in rather uncomplimentary terms. He said words to the effect that those on the good side of the chamber—that is us—were always suggesting that rates and land tax are the problem when it comes to rental affordability. Mr Barr asserted that the fact that there had not been a massive take-up of this option was proof that rates and land tax were not a barrier at all.
I know that those were not the words that Mr Barr used, but it was a rubbish claim from the Chief Minister because he was not comparing apples with apples. Sure, under this land tax rebate, the land tax is not paid, but the trade-off is that the property goes to market at 75 per cent or less of market rent. That is how it works. The mathematics of this scheme do not provide a positive outcome on anything other than